East Asia Nuclear Policy Project
Morton H. Halperin, The Nuclear Dimension of the U.S.-Japan Alliance

Commentary by Monte Bullard


The following comments are by Monte Bullard, a Senior Fellow at the
Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies.

Overall I found this paper to be very useful and interesting. The following comments are meant in the spirit of constructive critique:

1. On page four, the list of purposes for the U.S. use of nuclear weapons might include something about having a weapon of "last resort" as is often mentioned.

2. Page 9 - in the second paragraph "the U.S. never seriously contemplated the use of nuclear weapons in Asia" - I thought they were considered or threatened during the Korean War and in the 1958 Quemoy Crisis.

3. Page 14 - in the second paragraph it might be useful to mention the existing Russian - Chinese agreement on "no first use." This whole idea of a U.S. no first use statement or the reasons why it isn't made could be expanded. It is central to the debate between the U.S. and China on strategic issues.

4. Page 17 - third paragraph "certain states have put themselves outside the framework of the NPT" - a very important concept that could be expanded ... is this the definition of a rogue state? If so, what are the criteria for formally agreeing (e.g. between the U.S. and China) on which states are rogue states?

5. One of the main Chinese challenges about the U.S. use of nuclear weapons is that, particularly against "rogue states," the U.S. has more than sufficient conventional power to destroy the rogue state and therefore does not need a nuclear retaliatory capability. Even to retaliate against chemical and biological weapons, nuclear and CB weapons are not needed. From a Chinese perspective the only remaining rationale for retaining NBC weapons is the "China Threat."

6. What is the rationale behind leaving troops in Korea after reunification? It can only be aimed against the Chinese and that would clearly cause friction. Until now the rationale for troops in Korea has been limited to protection from an attack by the North. Would we need to develop a new anti-Chinese rationale for leaving troops there?

7. It will be difficult for the U.S. to provide credible security guarantees to Japan and Korea and at the same time engage the Chinese in a Northeast Asia Security Dialogue. How do we hope to work with China and at the same time treat them as the only potential enemy in every situation?

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